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Smartmatic says hold departure unnecessary; Guanzon hits back

/ 02:21 PM May 17, 2016
 (from left) Smartmatic’s head for voter education Karen Jimeno, general manager Elie Moreno and sales technical coordinator Miguel Avila. RICHARD A. REYES

(From left) Smartmatic’s head for voter education Karen Jimeno, general manager Elie Moreno and sales technical coordinator Miguel Avila. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RICHARD A. REYES

Officials of election technology provider Smartmatic said that there was no need to issue a hold departure order against their employees, saying they  have no intention to leave the country until the issues surrounding the controversial change in the transparency script has been resolved.

Atty. Karen Jimeno, Smartmatic head for voters’ education, said that Smartmatic is willing to participate in any investigation on the issue.

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“Smartmatic respects the memorandum of Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, but they also think it’s unnecessary kasi wala namang balak umalis ‘yung mga officials ng Smartmatic (since the officials of Smartmatic have no intention of leaving),” Jimeno said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday.

READ: Smartmatic: We have always observed Comelec rules

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“They intend to fully cooperate with whatever investigation that Comelec calls for, or any political party calls for. They have no intention of leaving the country as well so it’s really unnecessary to even have a hold departure order,” she added.

On Monday, Comelec commissioner Rowen Guanzon wrote to her colleagues, asking them to direct Smartmatic to bar any of its team members from leaving the country pending the investigation on the script change.

READ: Guanzon seeks hold departure memo vs Smartmatic personnel

She has been vocal on the supposed lapses of Smartmatic, saying that it did not follow the protocols when it effected the typographical change during the evening of May 9.

The change—which corrected the ‘?’ in the names of candidates into ‘ñ’–was deemed “cosmetic” by the poll body and that it did not affect the results of the elections.

Guanzon did not mince words when sought for her reaction about Jimeno’s comment on her memorandum.

“You know Karen (Jimeno) is just doing her job. But she should not tell me that what I am doing is unnecessary. Maybe she wants my job? She’s just doing her job but I think she should choose her words carefully,” the feisty commissioner told reporters. JE/rga

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TAGS: Comelec, Guanzon, hash code, Hold Departure Order, Karen Jimeno, Rowena Guanzon, script, Smartmatic
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